The shuttle and bobbin were integral parts of weaving on a loom. The bobbin carried the weft or filling yarns, which unspooled and interlaced with the warp yarns (stretched on the loom) to make the cloth as the weaver passed the shuttle from side to side, hand to hand. Until the invention of the flying shuttle in 1733, most cloth was only as wide as a weaver could comfortably reach. The new shuttle made it possible to weave wider fabrics and to weave more quickly. This set the stage for the invention of the power loom, adopted widely in the new American textile mills. By the 1830s textile mills were a major source of employment for young women, a trend which continued through the 20th century. The above shuttle and bobbin, for a power loom, were used in the donor’s father’s mill in about 1870.



According to Grace Rogers Cooper,  author of The Invention of the Sewing Machine, 68 sewing machine stitches were in use by 1882.

One kind of stitch is call lock-stitch for which a shuttle and a bobbin are need it. In forming the lock-stitch, we must divide this class further into parts since there are 4 methods by which the lock-stitch is formed and each method has its own distinct underlying characteristics or principles. We speak of these divisions as types, each type taking its name from the manner in which the mechanism works while forming the stitch. The four types are known as:

1.  reciprocating

2.  vibrating

3.  rotating or revolving

4.  oscillating